Back in Chicago (for now)

This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

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Got back to Chicago late yesterday afternoon.  My wife and I are still gypsies.  They have made some progress on our apartment, and we can see the end but it’s a process to get there.

Over the past several years, we usually go to a city that is warmer in the month of February and camp out.  I don’t think we will be doing it this year.  We have been living in a studio with our puppy and it’s wearing on us.  So, we are taking off on the 15th of January in the car.

Our first stop will be Atlanta.  I have some meetings set up on the 17th with some startup people.  This year one of the themes for our fund is going to be to get on the road and go out to different B2B Fin Tech ecosystems where we think we might find some good seed deal flow.  Additionally, we are passionate about helping and building B2B Fin Tech so it really is a good idea to be physically present.

Atlanta has a nice fin tech ecosystem and we want to be involved in it.  Interestingly, ICE is based there.  Toronto also has a good fin tech ecosystem and similarly, the Toronto Stock Exchange is there.  Having a larger stock exchange in your city generally helps with B2B Fin Tech innovation.  There is just a different level of experience.

If you have a B2B Fin Tech company in Atlanta and want to meet up, please ping me.  On my recent quick trip to NYC, I met some companies that were seed stage that were fun to talk to.

My partner Kenny spent a month in London and met quite a few companies over there.  We are going to be spending time in London and Ireland over the next year as well.

We “hired” a couple of interns over the holiday.  One is an MBA student at Kellogg.  She is a University of Illinois undergrad.  She is really sharp.  If there are Chicago fin tech events we will definitely be sending her if she is able.  We also hired an undergrad from Bradley.  He’s a sharp kid too and I am looking forward to giving them a lot of work to do.  He may be at a few events but he’s a bit far from Chicago just to pick up and come into town for them.  Ironically, both of them grew up in the western suburbs and one of them ran cross country for a friend of mine from high school!

Kellogg has a venture lab intern program and if you are a fund, I’d encourage you to get involved with it.  I was super-impressed with the people that were referred to us.  It costs you nothing to hire them. We have done it for a couple of cycles now and frankly, it’s been an advantage for us.  We will continue to be a part of that program.

We take the intern approach seriously.  For us, we also see it as a way to extend our brand.  They go off to do interesting things and maybe it will turn into a deal or connection that is mutually beneficial later on.

After being in Atlanta, we will head down to “God’s Waiting Room” otherwise known as south Florida to see our parents for a few days.  Then turn around and work our way back.